After an encouraging workout at Fenway Park on Wednesday, first baseman/outfielder Kyle Schwarber appears to be on the verge of beginning a rehab assignment, according to Red Sox manager Alex Cora.
Schwarber, who the Sox acquired from the Nationals in exchange for pitching prospect Aldo Ramirez in late July, has been on the injured list because of a right hamstring strain since July 3.
This past weekend in Toronto, the 28-year-old slugger suffered a minor setback in his recovery on account of some left groin tightness, but it was one that did not throw off his timetable by that much, if at all.
Because of that, Schwarber could very well start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on Thursday. Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, he is eve expected to be in the WooSox’ starting lineup for their matchup against the Syracuse Mets at Polar Park.
That being said, it is unclear at the moment how long Schwarber’s rehab assignment with the WooSox will last. As noted by Cotillo, the left-handed power hitter has been held out of action since July 2 and is also learning to play first base — a relatively new position for him — on the fly.
“If it’s up to him, he’ll probably say hi to the guys and come back and perform,” Cora told reporters Wednesday (including Cotillo). “I think we’ve done everything possible to get him to a spot that, offensively, he feels right. Indoor, outdoor, with everything. Velocity, spin, everything.”
At the time he sustained that right hamstring strain last month, Schwarber was in the midst of a career year for the Nationals and was named to his first career All-Star team as a result.
Over 72 games with Washington, the 6-foot, 229 pounder slashed .253/.340/.570 to go along with nine doubles, 25 home runs, 53 RBI, and 42 runs scored across 303 trips to the plate, primarily as a left fielder.
In the month of June alone, Schwarber went on an absolute tear in regards to hitting the ball out of the ballpark, as he clubbed 16 of his 25 homers — 12 of which came in a 10-game span from June 19 through June 29.
On top of the production he can provide from the left side of the plate, Schwarber is no stranger to adversity, either.
Going back to the 2016 season, the former Cubs fan favorite tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee in early April, but returned just in time for that October’s World Series, where he posted a .971 OPS en route to Chicago’s historic triumph over the Cleveland Indians in seven games.
This feat is something Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has alluded to in the time since Boston acquired Schwarber, and it’s also something Cora pointed to on Wednesday.
“You guys saw what happened when they won the World Series (in 2016),” Cora said. “How quick he came back and how good he was when he did what he did when the Cubs won the World Series. Don’t bet against him. He feels great, he moves well and we’ll go from there.”
(Picture of Kyle Schwarber: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)